PITTSBURGH, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Canned Food Alliance (CFA) commends Congress on passage of a five-year Farm Bill. The Bill introduces a pilot program allowing elementary schools, which are currently participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, to offer "All Forms" of fruits and vegetables – canned, fresh, frozen, or dried.
The $5 million pilot program will be implemented during the 2014-2015 school year in at least five states. USDA will evaluate the impact of allowing schools to serve "All Forms" of fruits and vegetables as snacks. The evaluation will help Congress determine whether to allow for additional or full expansion of the "All Forms" approach.
"On behalf of the canned food industry, the CFA commends Congress on passing the Farm Bill and attaching an 'All Forms' pilot program to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. This ensures children have more ways to get the critical nutrients they need and meet USDA Dietary Guidelines," said Rich Tavoletti, executive director, the Canned Food Alliance.
"Allowing schools to have the flexibility to offer 'All Forms' of fruits and vegetables – including canned – in the snack program provides for additional nutritious options and helps ensure the efficient use of school facilities and budgets," said Tavoletti. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with the American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition, working with the USDA to implement this pilot program, and working to expand it in the future."
Also included in the legislation is a permanent provision to allow fruit and vegetable planting on acreage ineligible for a decoupled commodity program payment. Acreage eligible for a commodity program payment will require an "acre for acre" reduction. This allows adequate fruit and vegetable acreage.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and MyPlate.gov website both recommend Americans consume "All Forms" of fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats and seafood – whether they are canned, fresh, frozen or dried – to achieve recommended dietary goals.
Additional research, including a University of California at Davis study1, found "All Forms" of fruits and vegetables contribute important nutrients that make up a healthy diet and that exclusively recommending one form over another ignores the benefits each form provides.
Canned foods are picked and packed at the peak of freshness. The heating process used after the containers are filled and sealed ensures the food's quality and makes the addition of preservatives to prevent spoilage unnecessary. The canning process also locks in nutrients shortly after the foods are harvested, making canned fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats and seafood nutritious choices for schools.
Canned foods also are an economic and convenient way for consumers and schools to prepare and store nutritious foods year-round. In addition, canned foods provide the important nutrients people need often at a lower total cost-per-nutrient than fresh, frozen or dried forms2.
For more information about canned food research, resources, the canning process, family mealtime solutions, recipes that use canned food and more, please visit www.Mealtime.org.
About the Canned Food Alliance
The Canned Food Alliance, a National Strategic Partner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is a consortium of steelmakers, can manufacturers, food processors and affiliate members. For more information about canned food research, resources, the canning process, family mealtime solutions, recipes that use canned food and more, please visit. www.Mealtime.org.
1 Rickman, J., Barrett, D. and Bruhn, C. Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. J Sci Food & Agric, Vol. 87. Issues 6 and 7. April and May 2007
2 Kapica C. and Weiss W. Canned fruits, vegetables, beans and fish provide nutrients at a lower cost compared to fresh, frozen or dried. J Nutr Food Sci, 2012
SOURCE Canned Food Alliance